Writer: Just The Lads
Directors: Darren Sinnott &Liadain Kaminska
Reviewer: Orna O’ Connor
At Sea presented by Just The Lads is currently running at The New Theatre as part of the Tiger Dublin Fringe Festival.
This production is Co-directed by Darren Sinnott and Liadain Kaminska. Evolving from a devised college project as part of a Trinity drama module At Sea combines live music, recorded sound, visual projections and a paper mache head in an attempt to illuminate a man’s experience of dementia on stage. Based on the creator’s personal encounters with dementia, this piece features live music and is influenced by Hemmingway’s Old Man and the Sea.
At Sea is a performance which contains occasional moments of harmony between physical action, music, and visual projections. These momentary instances of lucidity within the abstract narrative are what save this performance from both emotional and intellectual obscurity.
The music performed by guitarist Cameron MacAuley, and cellist, Anna Clifford is enjoyable and lends the piece a weight of immediacy and liveness which actor Peter Corboy at times struggles to respond to with appropriate nuance. Music and sound function as an integral component of this piece. However, directors Sinnott and Kaminska have not sufficiently developed the musical qualities of pitch and tone within the disjointed monologue of Corboy’s character Roger. Corboy struggles to maintain consistent control over the physicality of his performance; however, this is perhaps again due to a lack of clarity in direction rather than an absence of performative ability. Despite his strong attempt, this directorial ambiguity lends an oddly flat quality to Corboy’s performance.
Unfortunately within At Sea the unity of dramatic intent and presented action is as fragmented and unreliable as the infallibility of memory itself. While one might argue that this is an intentional discord, cleverly allowing the piece’s structure to express the chaos of a clouded mind, it felt for this reviewer like indiscriminate artistic expression. Perhaps it is both.
The ambition of this young company is admirable; their work possesses glimmers of dramatic interest which hold great potential among the many disparate elements present on stage. The energetic forces evoked through the act of dramatic remembering do occasionally manifest in The New Theatre, if only for but mere moments.
With more decisive direction At Sea could transcend the cacophony of competing artistic visions that inhabit this work. When each idea is presented as loudly as the next it becomes difficult to fully appreciate or engage with one over another, as the potentially sublime is drowned out by the noise of many a busy creative mind’s chatter.
Photo courtesy of Tiger Dublin Fringe. Runs until Saturday, September 13th